Dennis Kutrieb dedicated his side’s win to the hard work of the Fleet’s working party of volunteers who strove in sub-zero temperatures to clear the pitch of snow on Tuesday night.
“I said to the boys we need to win today because we saw the great efforts from the volunteers, from the groundsmen and everyone who tried to prepare the pitch so that we can play,” Kutrieb told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “We need to win for them because when everyone works their socks off so that we are able to play, then of course I want to see the same on the pitch. And they showed it brilliantly.
“The pitch was brilliant, the pitch cover was fine. They started on Sunday to prepare the pitch for today. And today they prepared for the game tonight. So huge thanks for all the help from all the volunteers and from our groundsmen.”
And the huge feat of getting the game on in such conditions and in such unprecedented times was as much a statement about the need to continue to entertain the fans in the Fleet manager’s opinion.
“You can see football is not ‘I want to play or I don’t want to play or I need money, I need grants, I need loans,'” he said. “You see this is a responsibility for many people around the club. We have many fans that want to see football, and they have to stay at home, they are not allowed to go out. So give them a little bit of football, that they can have something to watch. Something that they can have a small party when we win games or suffer when we lose games. But they have something to look at, especially in these hard times.
“I never heard it before that teams or clubs can decide if they play or not, never before in my life. In Germany if you don’t want to play, the opponents get the three points, the other team gets a fine and loses the three points. And if they do that three times, they’re cancelled from the league. My opinion is a clear one: to play until there is a decision.”
Of the game, Kutrieb was well aware of Hampton’s strengths, particularly after their eight-game winning streak away from home, and he felt his side might have added a killer third goal.
“It’s a great win especially after waiting and waiting [to see] if we are allowed to play or not,” he said. “You can see in the first half the boys were so on fire to be back on the pitch. Nobody knew before if we were allowed to play today, and then with the weather as well… So you can see they were happy to play and they played a really good first-half.
“Hampton are tough, we could see it there a few weeks ago. But I was a little bit frustrated because when we play such a good first half, and I think it was one of the best halves I’ve seen, we can’t allow the opponent to come back in the game with an easy goal. We were two against one in the penalty box so it [should] not be possible that they score a goal before half-time.
“And you can see then it’s another game in the second half, they get a little bit more confidence, they try a little bit more, they try harder and harder and you have to finish the game off. You can’t allow the opponent to score before half-time and we had enough chances to score the third goal.”
Fleet face another tough clash on Saturday at Havant & Waterlooville, who won 3-0 at the Kuflink Stadium in December. And Kutrieb will use Fleet’s patch of momentum over the past few games to set his side up for the visit to Hampshire.
“We have momentum because we have great lads and they want to win but it’s stop-start, stop-start,” he said. “So to say it’s momentum, it’s very hard and [that’s the case] for many other clubs as well. You can have two or three wins but at the moment you have to look from game to game, because you never know if you play on Saturday, or in two weeks or four weeks.
“We had a big loss here against Havant, 3-0. So I think we have to win there as well. But it’s another game. It’s on 3G. It’s completely different now a few weeks later, we have a small momentum. Our boys want to win and they slowly understand what I want to have from them and you can see it on the pitch, it’s better and better and so I’m really excited for Saturday. It’s a good test for us to see if we can beat a really good side and I’m excited.
“The players work so hard day by day, they try always to improve, to be prepared. The injured boys today at two o’clock, what they worked on in our small gym here, that’s unbelievable. That’s good character.”